May 21, 2015

moderate couponing: crackers and custard at Target...

free crackers + cheap custard at Target = happiness | yourwishcake.com
I feel like it's been forever since I've done a "moderate couponing" post, but I had to pop in and share an awesome deal I came across this week! I was able to get all the above items at Target for $3.22—and all the crackers were 100% free. Not too shabby, considering the retail price would have been just shy of $22. (For the love of Pete, never spend that kind of money on ice cream or crackers. Even if the ice cream is actually custard and the crackers are organic.)

Here's how I got this deal:
  Horizon Sandwich Crackers: purchased four @ $3.49/each
   — Used 50% off Cartwheel offer (via Cartwheel app)
   — Used two BoGo Free coupons (printable, found here)

  Dreyer's Frozen Custard: purchased two @ 3.99/each
   — Used two $1 off coupons (from Sunday's coupon inserts)
   — Used one $1 off coupon (printable, from Target.com)
   — Used 25% off Cartwheel offer (via Cartwheel app)

Regular price: $21.94
Price I paid (not including the extra 5% REDcard discount): $3.22

I can't recommend the Cartwheel app enough, you guys. Every week they have random high-value discounts offered for everything from DVDs to clothes to toys and grocery items. (It was also kind of awesome how for the cracker deal, the Cartwheel discount was applied first, but the BoGo coupon still took off the full price of the items before any other discounts, which is how they were all completely free!)

If you're new to any sort of couponing business at Target, here is a quick cheat-sheet for how many offers can be combined for any single item:
  • Manufacturer coupon (either printed or clipped from the Sunday circulars)
  • Target coupon (yes, they have coupons on their website, so you can use a Target coupon and a manufacturer coupon for the same item!)
  • Cartwheel discount
  • 5% REDcard discount
Years ago, someone tried to convince me to get a REDcard, but I really didn't want another credit card. But once I realized that they have the debit card option, which is essentially the same as using your regular debit card, I was sold. (You always receive a 5% discount at the register, plus free shipping every day from their website, which is handy!) I only use it at Target, but I say it's totally worth it, especially if you're there often.

Let me know if you take advantage of this grocery deal, too! I get a little too excited when I can actually score a freebie at stores like this. Often times, the shelves are cleared on day one of the sale (but maybe that's just here in Southern California).

By the time you read this, I may or may not have consumed half of one custard container…send help…

Affiliate links included in this post; view my disclosure policy here.

May 20, 2015

Citrus Lane: a peek inside my May box...

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This week, our most recent Citrus Lane box arrived, and I must say that I am more than happy with the items we received this month! Last month, I was a little disappointed with the retail value (even though the actual products were totally adorable), so this month more than made up for any of that disappointment! Once again, I know every item will go to good use—and from my calculations, the retail value of everything inside comes to around $43! Not bad for a box that costs $29, when you order a month-to-month subscription (especially if you are able to use credits or coupon codes!).

Citrus Lane: May 2015 box review! | yourwishcake.com
This month, the items were geared toward outdoor play and creativity, and meant to encourage a day of adventure (something near and dear to my heart!). Keep in mind that the this box was curated for a 3 year old girl, and when you subscribe, your box will include items for your own child's age range and development.

Here's a closer look at everything we received! As always, I'm basing the retail prices on what I find through a little bit of internet searching—and you can always shop this box over at Citrus Lane.
Citrus Lane: May 2015 box review! | yourwishcake.comCitrus Lane: May 2015 box review! | yourwishcake.com
Imagine I Can (Fairy Enchanted) from Manhattan Toy Co. (average retail price: $19.95) — This is completely and utterly perfect for Eisley, who is the queen of dress-up every single day. I was hoping this month's box would include something I could tuck away as a special gift for her when we head to the hospital to have her sister in July, and this is definitely something she'll be head over heels for! I like that this set is very simple but has details like a little fairy dust bottle and a small pouch of fabric flowers. Very sweet!

Citrus Lane: May 2015 box review! | yourwishcake.com
Ice Cream Shop Sand Toys from Hape (average price: $6.50) — I was just thinking about how I wanted to pick up a few new sand toys for Eisley, because somehow over the years sand toys have the tendency to just disappear into thin air. (Or into the hands of random kids at the park. Or under a pile of sand, never to be seen again.) The ice cream theme of this set adds to the novelty, and I'm eager to bring these to the park later this week! Super cute.

Citrus Lane: May 2015 box review! | yourwishcake.com
Portions-to-Go Lunch Box from Goodbyn (average price: $11.95) — We received a similar product a couple years ago, and I love it! Even though Eisley doesn't go to school or daycare, using these portable, nesting containers are great for daily snacking or to take on the go when we're away for a good part of the day. I love the quality of this brand and know they will last! Now if only I could convince my husband to use a purple container for the lunch he brings to work every day…hmmm… 

Citrus Lane: May 2015 box review! | yourwishcake.com
Sunscreen Bands from Sunburn Alert (average price: $4.99) — At first, I wasn't sure I would actually use these, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea behind this product. You put one on your child, and once the color changes you know to apply more sunblock. Once the color fades completely, you know it's time to take a break from the sun! I like the idea of using these with Eisley when we are in a playdate situation and it's not just her and I one-on-one. If I'm a little distracted with a conversation with another mama and end up losing track of time, this bracelet would be a fantastic reminder to slather my (ridiculously fair) child with sunscreen once more. I'll keep these in the car for beach days or extra-long park days!

Coupon codes, ahoy!
  • If you'd like to subscribe to Citrus Lane, be sure to use the code TAKE40 to receive 40% off your first box, which is a fantastic deal! Even if you only want to receive a couple boxes before canceling your month-to-month subscription, it's a nice way to save money while stocking up on unique birthday or holiday gifts for the year ahead. (This code is good through the end of June.)
  • You can also scour the ol' internet for other coupon codes, which seem to pop up quite often here and there. Sometimes you are able to snag a free gift with your subscription, which is what I've done in the past!

Did you receive a box this month? What are your thoughts? I love hearing what other mamas receive!

Affiliate links included in this post. If you purchase a Citrus Lane subscription through my referral links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support! View my disclosure policy here.

May 19, 2015

the best (religion) memoirs I've read...

The best (religion/religious) memoirs I've read! | yourwishcake.com
It's no secret: I'm a little bit obsessed with memoirs. For the past decade, they've been my go-to genre, and I truly can't get enough. I've always had a fascination with the lives of others, especially those that are so different than mine—or, at times, that are so similar to mine and make me feel less alone. Stories of survival, stories of adventure, stories that make me laugh while reading the pages (or, at times, cry so hard I risk ruining a library book). I think that my love of this genre has to do with getting to read the story of another person, most often in their own words, and for a short time being completely wrapped up in their world.

I've read so many memoirs over the years that I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of my absolute favorites—ones that I recommend to others when they're looking for a good one to pick up. But then I actually started writing out my list and realized it would be the longest blog post of all time if I shared them all at once. (Information overload, for sure.)

I ended up coming up with a handful (or more) of my favorites in the following categories: religion, celebrity, war/crime, and humor/misc. I'm starting out with my favorite memoir subject: religion—because it's filled with books on the FLDS, which is completely and utterly fascinating. (And we all know if there's a book on polygamy, I will read it. I'm almost surprised our librarians haven't started setting them aside for me, the same way they do with Disney Princess books for my daughter. "Here's a new Frozen picture book for Eisley…and a terrifying memoir on escaping the FLDS for you, ma'am. Enjoy!")

Hopefully these lists will help those of you who typically stick to fiction and are eager to try out something new!

So, without further ado, here are some of the best memoirs on religion I've read!

Escape by Carolyn Jessop — If you choose only one book off this list, I hope it's this one! I read this book in just a few sittings and it is definitely one of those that is very (very!) difficult to put down once you start reading it. Her story draws you in from beginning to end, and how she was able to escape such a lifestyle with eight children is nothing short of incredible. I loved her inside look at how life within the FLDS can be (and most likely still is) for many women.

Becoming Sister Wives by Kody Brown — There was a time I was legitimately obsessed with the show Sister Wives (which is probably the only show I truly mourned the loss of when we got rid of satellite TV…no shame!). When this book was released, it didn't disappoint! It was actually better than I thought it would be, because it shows just how much you don't get to see on reality TV. You get a much more intimate look at the struggles each of the wives went through (and still experience), with chapters written by each of the women within the family. The book feels like a much more accurate, honest picture of what modern polygamy actually is (from my very limited perspective) and if you have any interest in this family, you won't want to miss this book.

Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall — This author was yet another teenage bride within the FLDS (married off to a cousin, of all people) and her story is definitely heartbreaking. It's one of those stories that make you wonder how a mother, father, sister, or anyone else could stand by and let these things happen to a child (she was only 14 when she was forced to marry), regardless of social norms or "religious" beliefs. It's incredible how far she came from that point, despite everyone around her essentially forcing her to do their will —and after years of struggle, her testimony even helped put Warren Jeffs behind bars.

The Witness Wore Red by Rebecca Musser — This is a beautifully written book (by the sister of the author of the above book, actually!) and was an incredibly powerful read. It's a little surprising how many books on this specific subject I can read, yet not lose interest, but I think it's because although there are very similar threads within each memoir, every woman's story is so unique. The author of this particular book was married as a teenager to then-profit Rulon Jeffs, who was 85 years old (and, coincidentally, the father of Warren Jeffs). Her inside look at the leader of the FLDS—and his entire family—makes this book especially captivating. I can't help but admire her bravery despite all she endured, and all she did to bring many of those polygamous leaders to justice.

Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill — There aren't that many books out there on Scientology (except the ones promoting Scientology) so this one caught my attention immediately. This book tells the story of Jenna, niece of the current leader of the Church of Scientology. Read it. No, really. Her story is so honest, raw, and captivating. It's one of those stories that is so detailed, and sharing it most likely caused her more strife than anything else (especially due to being estranged from most of her family after leaving the church), so I tend to believe what she shared within the pages. So much of it is so bizarre that I was left wondering, Who could even make this stuff up?

To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal — This book shares the experiences of the author, a successful orthopedic surgeon, who drowned, went to heaven, was brought back to life, and lived to share her incredible story. Before you start rolling your eyes, just hear me out! I'm not one for books that try to convince you of something by telling an outrageous story, but there's something about this woman's story that is so, well, believable. The author is an incredibly intelligent and accomplished woman—someone who doesn't need to tell tall tales just to make a profit or become famous. Hearing this story told by someone like her makes it much easier to digest—especially for anyone who may be a bit of a skeptic. If I remember correctly, I read the whole thing in a couple days. (Also, I remember crying my eyes out for the duration, so you may want to prepare yourself.)

A Love that Multiplies by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar — Say what you will about this family, but I love 'em. I actually want to throw this book at people when they are overly critical about the Duggars' lifestyle and end up repeating things they read about them on the internet. If you have a genuine interest about how (and why) they live the way they do, this is a great read and I promise it will soften your opinion of them. They are very open and honest about their beliefs, struggles, and faith—and clear up some of the many misconceptions about their family, like the rumor that they are part of the "Quiverfull" movement (they're not) or that they believe everyone should live the way they do (they don't) or that they force their daughters to wear long skirts and stay in the kitchen and prevent them from doing anything outside of traditional gender roles (they don't). You may even like them a little bit (or a lot, like I do!) after reading this book. If anything, it will at least give you a more accurate view of their beliefs!

Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson — I remember when I picked up this book at the library, surprised to discover it was written by the woman behind the popular blog NieNie Dialogues. This book tells not only the story of the plane crash that left both her and her husband with an intense, painful recovery (more than 80% of her body was burned), but also the love story between between them and a beautifully honest description of motherhood and family life. I'm putting this one in the religion category because Stephanie talks a lot about her Mormon roots, which ends up as a central theme of her story. I want to read this one again (it's been years since I first picked it up!) because her story of survival is incredible, and she is just a beautiful, beautiful writer.

I'll be working on the rest of these posts within the next month, so if religious memoirs aren't your jam, there are many other subjects coming your way. But if you do end up reading any of the above books, please let me know what you think! And if there are any must-reads I've missed, do share. Especially if they involve escaping from cults. (Because those are my jam.)

Affiliate links included in this post; view my disclosure policy here.